Bug Bites Dell Notebooks

Owners of Dell Latitude and Inspiron notebooks might find their computers have a hard time waking up after drifting into sleep mode.

Dell Computer says a limited number of notebooks purchased last year between February and November have a memory bug that has some owners experiencing system hang-ups and Windows "blue screen" errors.

The bug can corrupt or destroy files, and the notebooks' memory modules must be replaced, says Rob Crawley, a Dell spokesperson.

Affected are Latitude Cpia, CpiR, CPt, Cpx, and CS models along with Inspiron 3500, 3700, 7000, and 7500 models, according to Dell representatives. Dell has posted a downloadable diagnostic software program that checks notebooks for the bug.

The root of the memory bug is traced to an undisclosed component vendor that supplied Dell with faulty RAM modules. When affected computers go into "sleep mode," user data is sent to the system's flawed RAM.

The data stored in RAM can become corrupted or lost, Crawley says. Until a notebook owner can replace the machine's memory modules, Dell suggests changing the suspend settings using the basic input/output system software from "suspend to memory" to "suspend to disk."

Dell identified the flaw two weeks ago and began notifying customers by mail of the problem. Crawley says affected laptop owners would be sent new memory modules and could also arrange to have a Dell technician install the memory at the customer's request at no charge.

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